I know it’s hard for those who have pes planus (another term for flat feet) to perform physical exercises to their fullest, especially athletes. Trust me, I have fallen arches too, and it sucks. But flat feet are much more common than you think, and you are not alone.


Globally, experts estimated that around 20-30 % of the population is flat-footed, or at least low arched. [1] Flat feet can be painful and can cause further issues. However, with the right treatments, you will be able to do all the things you love to do, whether that’s going hiking or exercising with your friends and families…painlessly.


What causes Flat feet?


Almost everyone flat-footed is born with them because this trait is passed genetically either from your mom or dad. But others can develop flat feet over time. Fallen arches occur when there’s pressure pushing down your arches and by weakening your posterior tendon (the prominent supporter of your arch). [1] Every time you walk, run, jump, or move in any similar actions, your arches get pushed down, and over time, flat feet occur. The more weight you put on yourself, the more likely you will develop flat feet. Going for a checkup at your local orthopedic will be beneficial.


Disadvantages of having pes planus: [3]

  • Shin splints

  • Knee, hip, and ankle pain

  • Rolled in ankle

  • Difficulty walking straight

  • Inflammations of foot tissues

  • Arthritis

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTP)


Pronation vs. Supination:



Pronation, the most common, is when your ankle is leaning inward, whereas supination occurs when your ankle/arch leans outward. People who have pronation, like me, have low arches. We need to wear inserts that elevate our arches to bring it up, so it’s easier to walk with better support. However, those who have supination have an arch that’s higher than the normal arch. So, they need to wear inserts with a deep heel cup with good cushioning and room in their toe area.


Super simple and effective stretches for those with flat-feet: [2][4][5]


Tennis/Golf ball roll

  1. Sit on a chair and roll either tennis or golf ball under your foot arch

  2. This helps relax your muscle and destress your feet

  3. Roll for at least 1 minute or rest for 10 seconds for every 10-20 rolls.


Arch lifts

  1. Stand straight with feet below hips

  2. Roll your weight to the outer edge of your feet, lifting your arches as far up as possible; make sure your feet stays in contact with the floor the entire time

  3. Release your feet back down; Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.


Stair arch lifts

  1. Stand on steps with your left foot one step higher than your right foot.

  2. Use your left foot for balance as you slowly lift your right heel as high as possible, focusing on strengthening your arch.

  3. Rotate your arch inward as your knee and calf rotate slightly to the side, causing your arch to become higher.

  4. Slowly lower back down to the starting position.

  5. Do 2–3 sets of 10–15 repetitions on both sides.

Towel curls

  1. Sit on a chair with both feet flat on a towel

  2. Grab the center of the towel with your toes

  3. Curl the towel toward you

  4. Relax your foot each time you curl and repeat this at least 5 times


*You can do the same if you are using marbles; curl your toes to pick up marbles and drop them in a cup/bowl.

Calf/heel stretches

  1. Lean hand against a wall

  2. Stretch your left leg straight out and bend the right knee; it should look like you are doing a lunge expect hands pushing against walls.

  3. You should feel a stretch from your heel and calf of the extended leg.

  4. Hold for 10 secs and repeat on the other side. You can repeat 2-3 times.


*Link for visual demonstrations of these stretches will be available if you scroll to the bottom


Other treatments:

  • Custom orthotics can help ease foot pain and can correct your arches.

  • Sleep on a medium soft bed so that it’s a comfortable surface for you to rest your legs

  • Try compression sleeves to reduce swellings and pain.

  • You can also buy arch support inserts; it works similarly to custom orthotics

  • Physical therapy or surgery

  • If you have extreme pain and can’t handle it, your doctor will suggest foot surgery to rebuild your arch’s structure to restore the support it needs.


Remember, if your arches or any parts of your foot hurts, go to an orthopedic immediately. It’s always better to find out early to prevent further pain and future problems.



[1] Clinic, Anderson Foot and Ankle. “8 Things You Might Not Know about Flat Feet.” 8 Things You Might Not Know about Flat Feet: Mikol Anderson, DPM: Podiatrist Foot & Ankle Surgeon, https://www.andersonfoot.com/blog/8-things-you-might-not-know-about-flat-feet

[2] Healthline stretch demonstrations

[3] Clinic, Mayo. Flatfeet. 28 July 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flatfeet/symptoms-causes/syc-20372604

[4] Villines, Zhawn. “Plantar Fasciitis Stretches: 6 Exercises and Other Home Remedies.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 4 Feb. 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324353

[5] https://foottalk.blogspot.com/2017/10/pronation-flat-feet-and-anti-semitism.html

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